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Tree pit gardening advice

Guidance and advice for residents who would like to grow plants around the trees in Westminster’s streets.

Planting in tree pits is a community-led activity which has many positive aspects on both health and the wider community.

A tree pit, with lots of greenery in the soil around a tree on the pavement

By combining physical activity with social interaction and timeout in nature, fresh air and hopefully some sunshine, gardening can offer health benefits like:

  • stress relief
  • help to reduce depression and anxiety
  • help to prevent cognitive decline

In the community, it can improve the appearance of streets, bring benefits to biodiversity and can deter dumping, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. It can also provide a focus for residents to work together to care for their local environment.

The advice on these pages aims to help residents improve the success of their community gardening projects, and to ensure the safety of the highway, and the health of the existing trees.

As this is a community-led activity, residents should be aware that the council does not grant permission for gardening in tree pits. This means that works are undertaken at resident's own risk, and we can't provide funds for planting in tree pits or pay for the upkeep of plants.

Whilst working in tree pits, residents should also be aware that there might be discarded sharp items, toxic waste, and other unpleasant materials present, so suitable protective gloves or other equipment may be needed.  

Published: 10 May 2023

Last updated: 10 May 2023